Here’s the takeaway: Both businesses and individuals are generally ill-equipped to define what success means for them.
It’s rare that people truly want to know where they want to go, and how they’re going to get there. I see this not only with leadership teams, but also with individuals: In most cases, people don’t really know what success looks like for them. What will it mean to be successful? We often associate success with money, but more often than not, money is a very small component of success. We then begin to ask, is it time? Square footage of a house? A pool? A magazine cover? A certain number of employees? Quality of life? Number of adventures (my personal favorite)? A happy marriage? Happy, well-rounded kids?
Let’s say I were to sit down with a leadership team, for example, and ask each individual person where they saw the business going in the next eight or ten years. There’s a very good chance that I would get a different answer from each person, if any of them even had an answer!
Here’s one of the main reasons why this happens. When we get to a certain level of success where our basic needs are getting taken care of, we don’t really know how to take the next step. Companies often get to this space by default and are “succeeding” despite themselves. They either go out of business, or they reach a fairly stable level of success where they no longer have to worry about paying the bills, but they are not really kicking ass. As individuals, when we get to a certain level of stability, or as I like to say, abundance where we aren’t worried about our next meal is coming from, or mass wars, or being killed by viral diseases in modern-day society, we end up acting like kids in a candy store. We don’t know how to handle the new normal, that is our everyday life filled with abundance.
When we don’t know how to handle this amazing, abundant world, we end up trying to keep up with the Joneses and what the world, our friends, and our advertisers, tell us we need. This applies to businesses, too. Right now, I see everybody under the sun thinking that they need an app, to be caught up with all the other businesses that have apps– even if they don’t really need one! There are a lot of companies who are trying to keep up with others instead of focusing on your own work, what’s really important. This results in a loss of focus and accumulating things and embracing distractions that have nothing to do with what you really need or want to be successful.
When we start to realize that the world we live in is one of such abundance, it lets us take the time to sit back and look at what really matters to us, not what the world says matters. To do that, we have to take control of our own life. We have to take the time, from both a business and an individual perspective, to identify what we really want.
For businesses, Traction and the EOS process helps work through letting go of everyone else’s definitions of success, and genuinely identifying what’s important for your company. For individuals, there are other tools. The shameless pitch starts here: the new book I’ve co-authored with my wife, Reka, is designed to help you look into your heart and figure out what’s actually, truly important to you as an individual. It’s a step-by-step guide for identifying your true dream and letting everything else go. Your dream might be different than what other people or the wine commercials have told you, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is deciding what you, and only you, want and need to achieve success in your own way and time.
If you’ve realized that you don’t know what success looks like for you, either in your business or your life, feel free to reach out any time. I’m here to help, first and foremost.